Windows keyboards to get a Copilot key – but how quickly will users jump?
Pushing your buttons: Microsoft's AI assistant is going so well that it's going to have its very own spot
Microsoft says a Copilot key will be coming to Windows 11 PCs, oddly exciting fanatics but confounding some others.
Pressing the button will invoke the "Copilot Experience," according to Microsoft. The addition of the Windows key some three decades ago was the last time the company fiddled with keyboard hardware. The addition of the Copilot key is, therefore, a sign of the company's determination – or desperation – to get users turned on to its AI tooling.
First, Copilot came for your taskbar. Now it's coming for your keyboard.
As for where the key is going to be placed, it looks like the spot to the right of the spacebar will be the preferred location, although Microsoft noted that placement would vary by OEM. It might replace the right CTRL key unless the keyboard is large enough to accommodate both. In other cases, it might be combined with the Menu key – accessing the Menu functionality would require an Fn key or something similar.
If you're lucky enough to have dodged Copilot or it is unavailable or not enabled on your device, the new button will launch Windows Search. We asked Microsoft if users could select the search provider, but the company has yet to respond.
The new keyboards will start arriving in late February, and Microsoft said it would feature on upcoming Surface devices. The company also said that its hardware partners would show off products featuring the key in the coming days and the lead-up to CES.
After all, having a button to launch an AI assistant on a keyboard is bound to sway a buyer's purchasing decision.
Microsoft did not spell out the current travails faced by Copilot, preferring to note that the "timing of Copilot feature delivery and availability varies by market and device."
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Noting the decades since it last added a key to the Windows keyboard, Microsoft said: "We see this as another transformative moment in our journey with Windows where Copilot will be the entry point into the world of AI on the PC."
Transformative? Maybe. How quickly it's adopted could be seen a test of just how relevant Windows is nowadays. Microsoft may have been able to dictate the design of keyboards decades ago, but the sluggish adoption of Windows 11 indicates that users may be a little less bothered nowadays. ®